The Hell, quite literally. That would be eight specially-equipped C-130s that are water-bombing wildfires in Colorado. From the Usual USAF Source:
MAFFS in Force: For the first time since 2008, a total of eight specially modified C-130s from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are helping the US Forest Service fight wildfires raging in Colorado and several northwestern states. Since June 25, four Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s staging from Peterson AFB, Colo., have battled the flames; on June 30, four more aircraft arrived there. As of early on July 1 local time, these eight airplanes had dropped more than 190,000 gallons of fire retardant in 73 airdrops, states a Peterson release. Starting on July 2, four of the MAFFS C-130s will begin staging out of the Wyoming Air Guard's base in Cheyenne, announced Cheyenne officials. This will give the Forest Service "tremendous flexibility to assist with several regional fires at once," said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153rd Air Expeditionary Group commander. Two C-130s from Cheyenne's 153rd Airlift Wing and two from the North Carolina Air Guard's 145th AW will operate from Cheyenne. Two Aircraft from the California Air Guard's 146th AW and two from Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd AW at Peterson will continue to stage from the Colorado base. (Includes Cheyenne report by Deidre Forster) (See also June 30 Cheyenne release.)
That Peterson release linked above gives mission details. For example... "Waldo Canyon, CO: (no change) -- 50 air drops -- App. 133,500 gallons of retardant." The Waldo Canyon fire was burning quite close to the AF Academy last week, so USAF has a vested interest in that particular fire. Also in today's Daily Report:
Academy Gets Back to Normal: With the worst of the Waldo Canyon fire seemingly behind it, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., resumed normal operations. "Although academy personnel have been recalled and normal operations have resumed, the Waldo Canyon fire is still active and extremely dependent on weather conditions," stated academy officials on June 29 in announcing the return to normalcy. They added, "There is no immediate threat to academy property, and academy officials continue to monitor the situation closely." Should the fire continue to spread north, they said there was "a high degree of confidence" that firefighters would be able to minimize impact to the academy. On June 29, academy officials allowed more than 2,100 airmen and family members to return to the Douglass Valley and Pine Valley housing areas and to the enlisted dormitories that were evacuated last week. They also lifted the stop-movement order on personnel coming to the academy. The academy reopened to visitors on June 30. (Colorado Springs report by TSgt. Chris Powell) (JBSA-Randolph report by Debbie Gildea) (For updates, see the academy's Waldo Canyon fire webpage.)An Occasional Correspondent sent me pics of the Academy wreathed in smoke... it looked pretty bad at the time.